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June 22, 2016

Delco doctor charged in largest Medicare fraud takedown in history

More than 300 doctors, nurses and medical professionals face charges

A Delaware County doctor is among 301 people federally charged Wednesday in the largest Medicare fraud sweep in history.

Stephen A. Monaco, 59, of Broomall, was among 61 doctors charged for allegedly participating in a health care fraud schemes totaling some $900 million in false billings. Another 240 nurses and licensed medical professionals also are facing charges.

The nationwide sweep is the largest in history by both the total number of defendants charged and loss amount, federal officials said.

Monaco is charged for allegedly participating in a $5 million scheme to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and four private victim insurance companies through his practice, A Foot Above Podiatry, Inc., in Haverford.

According to charging documents, Monaco, seen at right, submitted fraudulent claims for podiatric procedures that were not provided and podiatric procedures that were not performed, including injections, debridement and nail avulsions.

He also allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for unnecessary procedures and services that were not reimbursable by Medicare or the other insurance carriers.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force led the sweep, which included criminal and civil charges filed in 36 federal districts. Its operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team. Since its inception, it has charged more than 2,900 defendants accused of falsely billing Medicare $8.9 billion.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch released a statement saying the takedown reinforces health care fraud as a serious crime.

“The wrongdoers that we pursue in these operations seek to use public funds for private enrichment," Lynch said. "They target real people – many of them in need of significant medical care. They promise effective cures and therapies, but they provide none. Above all, they abuse basic bonds of trust – between doctor and patient; between pharmacist and doctor; between taxpayer and government – and pervert them to their own ends."